Thursday, September 21, 2006

Eye of the Beholder

Ever since I was aware of their existence, I've loved horses. Trail rides, taking lessons, even just going to the races – being around horses makes me happy. Leaving Wheaton meant leaving Danada Equestrian Center, which has put a dent in my horse time. I've had a few treks on my holidays, but I don't have any regular horse activities.

Part of the problem is having too many interests and obligations and not enough time to go around. The other part of the problem is that Peter is not as keen on horses as I am. He always says that he prefers his transportation not to have a mind of its own. He's more than willing to wait in the car while I go off on a horsey adventure, but that puts a dent in everyone's fun.

This week, I thought I'd found the answer to my holiday horse activities problem. While researching accommodation for a long weekend in Wexford, I found a place that offers horse-drawn caravan holidays. You get instruction in the care, feeding and harnessing of the horse. You also learn how to drive the caravan. Then, the proprietors help you map out a route and off you go for a week of exploring the countryside with a 2-ton draft horse. Fantastic!

I was so excited, I was already looking at a calendar for 2007. I figured Peter would feel better about driving a wagon instead of actually sitting on the back of the horse. He'd have a greater feeling of control and few feelings of vulnerability. I'd get my horse time and I'd get to care for the horse. Plus, this place would give you an extra riding horse for less than 200 euro for the week. I could trot along ahead of the caravan on a frisky little pony while Peter and the draft horse happily plodded on.

I sent the link to Peter and couldn't wait for his response, which, since he is so indulgent of my whims, was sure to be yes. Right?

Wrong. But we'll get into that in a minute. First, look at this picture from the Irish Horse Drawn Caravans' website and tell me the first thoughts that pop into your head:

It makes me think of the Wild West, pioneers, and Little House on the Prairie. It also makes me think of Pinnochio – of the traveling circus where he's forced to sing “I have no strings to hold me down, to make me sad, to make me frown. I have no strings, as you can see, there are no strings on me.” The two images combine to make me imagine driving the horse, singing the song, in my very own Little House on the Bog.

Peter looks at the same website, the same image, and his associations are less wholesome and cheery. He thinks of the tinkers in the movie “The Field”, of travelers in general, of the knackers' ponies. Where I see a harmless adventure, he sees something that would be twee if you didn't know any better and completely wrong if you did.

Suggesting to Peter that we do this would be like telling your teenage son to put on his dad's plaid golf pants and stupid sun visor and go shopping for golf clubs in the centre of town. Everyone will see him and know that he's either a stupid twit pretending that being an old man is cool or that he's so terminally uncool that he is beyond all hope.

I haven't entirely given up on the idea. Peter won't go, but maybe my brothers would be willing. Of course, the problem here is that Peter's sort of tainted the idea. He's given me a glimpse of how other people might see me, which is impinging on my happy little fantasy. There's part of me who doesn't want passersby to think “There's a whole load of American idiots, pretending to get in touch with their Irish heritage.”

Not to worry, I do have a Plan B up my sleeve. (An expensive and logistically difficult Plan B, but a girl has to have goals.)


At 21 September 2006 at 21:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete's a big meanie.

At 22 September 2006 at 02:13, Blogger Career Guy said...

A blue meanie at that.

I like the idea of you on the frisky pony, though my first thought was "Okies!" Tell Peter he can wear the Amish hat and suspenders. I'm sure he can't resist such a costume.

Word verification: myguqdek. Sounds vaguely like an Indian (dot not feather)curse word.

At 22 September 2006 at 09:47, Blogger Fence said...

I'll admit it, my first reaction on seeing the picture was more on Pete's side than yours. But I loved it while you were talking about it...

I bet that if you went for it, though it'd be fun. lus, it is probably in an area where you don't know anyone, so who cares if you are twee and oirish, once you are enjoying yourself.

At 22 September 2006 at 19:40, Blogger Shane said...

As 50% of your brothers I can say that looks like fun and great way to see the countryside. I would feel more like American clown shoes if I was on one of those awful bright green tour buses bedazzled with leprechauns in green top hats (see but only at your own discretion.)

Besides that, I like the idea of mapping out your own trip so you could avoid tourist traps and the sorts of dark corners that travelers are drawn to.

Perhaps we can talk and investigate further?


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